A Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s contributions to the just concluded 5th AU-EU summit in Abidjan as cogent, timely and highly perceptive.
Shehu, who is the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday night.
According to him, during the summit which was held between Nov. 28 and 29, President Buhari demonstrated the pivotal role Nigeria plays in continental affairs and in the relationship that Africa must forge with other regions of the world.
He noted that discussions at the conference were productive and frank, saying this was due in no small measure to the interventions of President Buhari.
“Others who attended the summit described President Buhari’s contributions as cogent, timely and highly perceptive.’’
The theme of the summit was “Investing in Youth for a Sustainable Future.”
He said: “At the summit, the President declared that the single most important investment we must make is to grow and develop our economies in ways that will provide jobs for our youths.
“While we also must invest in education and in other social areas, he emphasized that it is upon our economic maturation that the future of Nigeria and Africa will hang.
“Without jobs, even educated youth become vulnerable to forms of extremism, ranging from joining the ranks of terrorists to risking their lives migrating to Europe through the “sea of sand that is the Sahara and the unforgiving waters of the Mediterranean.
“He said we must declare this the era of African industrialisation for this must be the primary goal of all AU members.
“President Buhari said this and future AU-EU summits must be dedicated to this goal.’’
On trade and investment, President Buhari said Nigeria was not opposed to trade reform but said reform could not be indiscriminate.
He said that trade reform should only occur within the context of the push to industrialise.
According to him, direct foreign investment that produces jobs and creates tangible wealth must be encouraged.
With regard to peace and security, President Buhari stressed the need for greater cooperation to halt human trafficking and the need to act to curb the deaths of desperate migrants.
The President, who focused attention on Libya, said the once stable nation had become a house of chaos where northbound migrants were often sold into slavery and the means of violent terrorism were transported southward to upend political stability and peace in the Sahel.
President Buhari called on the EU to work more diligently with the AU to bring normalcy to Libya and for the EU to be more forthcoming with humanitarian aid to those directly affected by terrorism.
He said that the exit of former President Mugabe was a closed chapter in Zimbabwean and African history.
“Mugabe symbolised a good dream gone badly awry.
“Now, the rebuilding of that nation can become a symbol of how Africa and Europe can work together to develop a society based on justice, democracy and shared prosperity.
“If this is to be the case, we must be careful not to disregard the aspirations of the common person in Zimbabwe.’’
On the developing situation in Togo, President Buhari along with five other West African leaders with one form of stake or the other sat down with President Faure Gnassingbe to press for an urgent agreement between the countries’s President and the coalition that had been opposing him.
“You must talk to each other and avoid political explosions,’’ the President said.